(Original press release):
*Flemington Hosts Street Party and Jazz Festival September 14
End-of-Summer Celebration Features Tribute
to ‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin
. – On Friday, September 14, starting at 5 p.m., Flemington’s historic Main Street will be the stage for a free end-of-summer party and tribute to Aretha Franklin hosted by WDVR-FM, followed by four hours of world-class jazz on the opening night of the three-day 2018 Central Jersey Jazz Festival. The Historic Courthouse will provide a dramatic backdrop for the event, where visitors can enjoy a multitude of dining options, an expansive beer and wine garden, and dancing in the street. People who plan to stay for the concert are encouraged to bring a chair.
The headliner is jazz guitarist and composer Dave Stryker (9-10 p.m.), whose many 28 CDs have landed in the Top 50 on Jazz Week radio charts. Also performing will be Lakecia Benjamin (6-7 p.m.), who has been dubbed “The New Face of Jazz” by music magazine Allegro, and Sachal Vasandani (7:30-8:30 p.m.), a vocalist, composer and lyricist who has played alongside Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Charlap and Michael Feinstein, among many others. The Jazz House Kids will also perform between sets.
The festivities, held rain or shine, are being presented by Flemington Community Partnership. Sheila E. Anderson, an author and on-air personality on WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM, is the concert’s music producer and will emcee.
“We are proud to again host one of New Jersey’s premier music events” said Ann Meredith, executive director of Flemington Community Partnership. “Whether or not you are a jazz lover, we invite everyone to come to our street party to celebrate the end of summer, honor the Queen of Soul, and enjoy great food, drink and music.”
Stryker, a Downbeat Readers and Critics Poll winner, has been cited by jazz great Pat Metheny for his “joyous” style of playing. “Dave is very, very popular,” said Anderson, adding, “He makes you want to get up and dance.” Stryker has been a featured sideman on more than 50 CDs, including those of organist Jack McDuff and legendary tenor sax player Stanley “Mister T” Turrentine, with whom he worked for over a decade. He has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Monterey Jazz Festival, Las Vegas’ Blue Note and in Europe, Japan, Brazil and Poland. Stryker has also recorded more than 150 of his own compositions and has written several music books.
Benjamin is a charismatic performer who has been said to electrify the stage with her fiery sax. She and her band, Soul Squad, are immersed in the vintage sounds of James Brown, Maceo Parker, Sly and the Family Stone and the Meters as well as classic jazz, where Benjamin's sultry alto saxophone adds something different to every song. She recently opened for Patti LaBelle and has performed on four continents with artists including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Macy Gray, Anita Baker, Gregory Porter, Rashied Ali and the David Murray Big Band. She also performed at the White House for President Obama’s inaugural ball and is a featured musician and arranger for comedy star Craig Robinson and the Nasty Delicious.
Vasandani is known for his unique phrasing and improvisational skills, as highlighted on his new release, “Shadow Train,” which showcases original compositions and modern interpretations of classic jazz. Rolling Stone of India cited him for his “distinctive sound that finds its home between electronica, fusion, indie pop, EDM [electronic dance music] and more.” Vasandani has been touring clubs, theaters (including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall) and festivals since 2007 and wrote two songs on Gerald Clayton’s album “Life Forum,” which was nominated for a Grammy.
The three-day 2018 Central Jersey Jazz Festival will continue Saturday afternoon in New Brunswick and end Sunday afternoon in Somerville. For information, visit
Flemington Community Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a thriving business community for all to enjoy. For more information, visit